I am a lifetime member of the CMA, and I have no idea who the winners will be. Many times me and my respected peers have far more confidence in our choices. So these are things to watch, as we watch the show together.
The grand award of the night, is the Entertainer Of The Year and the competition is strong, all with worthy resumes. But my feeling is that with 6.5 million concert tickets sold on his current tour that is winding down, Garth Brooks may be a bit out front. His shows are still amazing after all these years. Garth is simply uncanny in his ability to stay relevant, packing arenas every single night.
One of the more interesting races to watch is Female Vocalist Of The Year. This is a wide open race, with Miranda and Carrie more than likely leading the list of favorites. Both winners of this award through the years. But I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like the music of Maren Morris and who she is. She is giving voice to a new generation of fans.
Male Vocalist is generally a tough one. Dierks Bentley would be a very interesting choice, as he has done something that's rare and very tough to do. He may be recording the best music of his career after all this time, as he continually reinvents himself. But Thomas Rhett is everywhere, and has throngs of fans in Country as well outside of Country.
I am always intrigued by the New Artist category as it is a mix of men, women and groups usually, which makes it fun to watch. What a year Jon Pardi had getting the traction many so long thought he would. He scored 3 BIG songs, all among the most memorable of the year. Hey, and Luke Combs has the same wonderful affliction Maren Morris has, as I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't love his music.
Album Of The Year is one I do have the strongest feeling about in that, as good as they all are, Chris Stapleton's, From A Room Vol 1, flew off the shelves and his fans just flat out like him. Plus, he's gathering more fans seemingly every minute of every day.
Vocal Duo. This year's nominees are so incredibly different it's a difficult call. Undeniably, Florida Georgia Line is as big as any act in our format from any category. They jam venues every night, and their fans are insanely loyal. They are also a few years ahead of the others in their bracket. Brothers Osborne though, look like blue chip prospects.
Vocal Group? Fans love all of them no doubt. But Little Big Town has a special relationship with fans, as they hung in there all these years even when times were not so good. Fans relate to them, like them, and support them. Old Dominion is off to a very strong start, and Zac Brown is solid year after year.
The Song and Single category I really have no feel for. And truth be told, we for the most part are a stars format. Fans more often than not, love their favorite singers first. All fine songs here, a couple will win.
The show promises to be the biggest one yet, and the chatter around the office the next day and on social media is always fun to watch and participate in. We can talk about it Thursday morning on the show, as we will host an After Show with Scott And Sarah.
Enjoy the CMA's and we'll talk it over Thursday morning!